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Cantharellus anzutake
Fruiting bodies of Cantharellus anzutake (credits: Wakana Ogawa).

Within the framework of the Mycorrhizal Genomics Initiative (MGI), we are sequencing a phylogenetically and ecologically diverse suite of mycorrhizal fungi, which include the major clades of symbiotic species associating with plants. Analyses of these genomes is providing new insights into the diversity of mechanisms for the mycorrhizal symbiosis, including arbuscular, ericoid-, orchid- and ectomycorrhizal associations.

Cantharellus anzutake sp. nov.

Cantharellus cibarius, commonly known as the chanterelle or golden chanterelle, is globally renowned as one of the best edible forest mushrooms, and its international commercial value likely exceeds a billion dollars annually. Fruit bodies are orange or yellow, fleshy and long lived but not perennial. The hymenium (spore producing layer) is either smooth or folded, with ridges on the stem and pileus. The yellowish color is derived from carotenoid lipids in the hyphae. Chanterelles associate with various conifers, oaks, and birches, as ectomycorrhizal partners.

The number of described Cantharellus species in the world exceeds 70. The genus is known from every continent except Antarctica. Among the family Cantharellaceae, 17 varieties of the cosmopolitan C. cibarius are described. The species complex has been revised recently and several species are well-known taxonomically and commercially: C. cibarius (European golden chanterelle), C. formosus (Pacific golden chanterelle), C. roseocanus (Rainbow chanterelle), C. subalbidus (White chanterelle), C. pallens, C. amethysteus, etc. The sequenced genome belongs to Cantharellus anzutake sp. nov. which has recently been identified as an Asian cryptic species of C. cibarius sensu lato complex. As C. cibarius, pure cultures of C. anzutake were difficult to establish due to the abundant communities of bacteria and fungi residing inside the tissues of even young and fresh basidiomata. C. anzutake cultures colonize pine and oak seedlings producing yellowish ectomycorrhizal root tips. Strain C23 of C. anzutake was produced from an ectomycorrhizal tip of Quercus crispula collected underneath a fruit body in Matsumoto (Nagano, Japan). This strain has been provided by Dr. Akiyoshi Yamada.

Several genomes of saprotrophic and mycorrhizal Cantharellales have been produced by the MGI, including Botryobasidium botryosum, Clavulina sp., Hydnum rufescens and Tulasnella calospora. The genome of C. anzutake will provide a glimpse into the Cantharellales evolution.

The MGI is a large collaborative effort led by Francis Martin (INRA) aiming for master publication(s) describing the evolution of the mycorrhizal symbioses. Researchers who wish to publish analyses using data from unpublished MGI genomes are respectfully required to contact the PIs and JGI to avoid potential conflicts on data use and coordinate other publications with the MGI master paper(s).